I Thess. 5:18
“In everthing give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This psalm and psalm 66 are of the nations. Thankfulness to God for all He had done for them. Thanksgiving is a vital element of worship. We use “Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” to express our love and gratitude to the Lord.
Charles Swindoll says, that he has a love affair with Thanksgiving. Hands down it is his favorite holiday.
First of all, it seems to blend together all we Americans hold precious and dear – without shame of plastic masks and commercialism. Shopping centers jump from Halloween to Christmas. It’s spooks to Santa … pumpkins to presents …. orange and black to red and green. There isn’t much hype about Thanksgiving.
Secondly he says, Thanksgiving highlights the home and family. Thanksgiving is synonymous with stuff that can be found only at home —- the warmth of a fire place, early morning fussing around in the kitchen, kids and grandkids, long distance phone calls, family reunions and so forth.
It’s a time of reflection on the past an annual reminder that God has, again been faithful.
Third he says, it drips with national nostalgia. It takes us back more than 300 years ago when our forefathers and mothers realized their dependence on each other to survive. With Thanksgiving comes a surge of renewed patriotism, a quiet inner peace that whispers, “I am proud to be an American.”
I recall as a young boy, standing erect in my classroom and repeating the “Pledge of Allegiance” one Thanksgiving season. Our nation was at war and times were hard. My teacher had lost her husband on the bloodwashed shores of Normandy. As we later bowed our heads for prayer she wept aloud. I did to. All the class joined in She stumbled through one of the most moving expressions of gratitude and praise that ever emerged from a soul plunged in pain. At that time in my young life, I fell strangely in love with Thanksgiving. Lost in sympathy and a boy’s pity for his teacher, I walked home very slowly that afternoon. Although only a child, I had profound feelings of gratitude for my country…. My friends …. My school … my church … my family. I swore before God that I would fight to the end to keep this land free from foes who would want to take away America’s distinctives and the joys of living in this good land. I have never forgotten my childhood promise. I never will.
Fourth and finally, it turns our heads upward. Just the word “Thanksgiving” prompts the spirit of humility. Genuine gratitude to God for His mercy, His abundance, His protection. His smile of favor. At this holiday, as at no other, we count our blessings and we run out of time before we exhaust the list.
The joy of living and giving comes from a heart of thanksgiving.
The writer is the pastor at Hardin United Methodist Church, Hardin.